Zimmerman has played at extended spring training for more than a week, taking batting practice and appearing in scrimmages. Zimmerman played in an extended spring training game today, playing four innings at third base and going 0 for 4. Afterward, he returned to Washington.

Zimmerman often says he needs little time to prepare after not playing for a long period of time, so he could join the Nationals before they return home from their current 11-game road trip.

Zimmerman last played April 9, when he tore an abdominal muscle sliding into second base. He underwent surgery May 3 and has been rehabbing ever since. The Nationals expected a six-week rehab, but it seems Zimmerman could return a week or so earlier.

Without their best player, the Nationals have gone 22-26. Before he aggravated his injury, Zimmerman was hitting .357/.486/.536. Remarkably, he still ranks fifth on the Nationals in wins above replacement among position players at 0.6.